09/08/05 - the war on drugs

In today's excerpt - former San Diego and Seattle police chief Norman Stamper puts forward a controversial view of drug enforcement:

"I say it's time to withdraw the troops in the war on drugs.

"For a jaw-dropping illustration of drug enforcement's financial costs, take a look at's 'Drug War Clock.' To the tune of $600 a second, taxpayers are financing this war. For the year 2004 that will the figure will have added up to over $20 billion, and that's just for federal enforcement alone. You can add another $22 to $24 billion for state and local drug enforcement, and even more billions for U.S. drug interdiction work on the international scene. We're talking well over $50 billion a year to finance America's war on drugs. ...

"On June 17, 1971, President Nixon declared drugs 'public enemy number one in the United States' ... In 1975, ... 87 percent of high school seniors reported that it was 'easy' or 'fairly easy' to buy marijuana. At the dawn of the new century, and millions of arrests later, the figure is at 90.4 percent. ... In 1988 Congress set a goal of a 'drug-free America by 1995' ...

"Not that the war on drugs hasn't taken any prisoners. The Department of Justice reports that of the huge increases in federal and state prison populations during the eighties and nineties (from 139 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 476 per 100,000 in 2002), the vast majority are for drug convictions. The FBI reports that 580,900 Americans were arrested on drug charges in 1980. By 1999 that annual figure had balloned to 1,532,200. Today, there are more arrests for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, and aggravated assault combined."


Norman Stamper


Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing


Nation Books


Copyright 2005 by Norm Stamper


24, 27
barns and noble booksellers
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit

All delanceyplace profits are donated to charity and support children’s literacy projects.


Sign in or create an account to comment